Whisky Sojourner - Travel and Events
An abiding theme of MyWhiskyJourneys is the link between whisky and travel and in Whisky Sojourner we provide some insights into whisky tourism in terms of both whisky-related places and events.
However, before setting off on your whisky travels it is important that you have with you one essential piece of equipment and that is the right glass from which to enjoy your whiskies. We believe the Cradle Glass, developed particularly with Tasmanian whiskies in mind, but ideal for any fine whisky, is the unique solution for such occasions.
Please click here to find out more about the Cradle Glass, including how to buy one.
And to accompany you on your travels, why not have with you the latest issue of Whisky Magazine to demonstrate even further your credentials as a serious whisky sojourner!
Some 30 years ago, MWJ Director Philip Morrice had the novel idea that the world needed yet another consumer magazine – but one devoted exclusively to whisky. With a couple of friends, he pulled together a magazine design team, a few potential contributors (not many people were writing about whisky in those days) and the potential of financial backing through advertising from what was then United Distillers. It didn’t happen because the latter got cold feet and the project was duly consigned to the “bright ideas that didn’t go anywhere” basket. Philip was then contributing regularly on whisky matters to Harper’s Wine & Spirit Gazette and Decanter Magazine. The former was really for the trade and the latter was much more aimed at wine lovers than whisky drinkers. Clearly, he was ahead of his time.
Philip greeted the arrival of Whisky Magazine many years later in 1999 with a mixture of joy and wistfulness. It has been a constant reference and source of information ever since and at different times he has been a contributor, a subscriber and an advertiser. It is not perfect, thank goodness, but it is an amazing source of good writing, sound advice and informed insight into everything associated with the world of whisky and for that reason it has become an indispensable tool for anyone desiring to be in the least bit knowledgeable about this most celebrated of drinks.
Regrettably the magazine no longer reviews whisky books and we would like to see more about the history of whisky in its many aspects. However, these are marginal criticisms far outweighed by the many elements between its covers which makes it such good value. We only hope that the industry will continue to support it but where are Diageo and Chivas when you need them!
There is a great seasonal subscription offer available at
Once you have that sorted out take a look at Forthcoming Whisky Events and Whisky Places below.
Forthcoming Whisky Events
2020 Whisky Festivals
Bruny Island House of Whisky, Tasmania
North Bruny is where you will find the Bruny Island House of Whisky, which has become the home of the Trapper’s Hut single cask, single malt whisky and, of course, the best chance of tasting these limited releases. There is no distillery – yet - on Bruny, but Trapper’s Hut is one of Tasmania’s four independent bottlers.
Bruny Island House of Whisky boasts the largest collection of purely Tasmanian whiskies on tasting anywhere in the world, with currently 76 expressions to choose from. It is certainly worth the ferry ride for any whisky - or nature - lover.
It takes about an hour to get from Hobart to the port of Kettering to catch the ferry to Bruny Island. You can either take your car on the ferry or take the bus and go as a foot passenger, but you will need transportation on the island to get to the House of Whisky. Check the ferry schedule in advance:
Bruny Island is sparsely inhabited with only about 600 permanent residents. Although it seems close to the main island of Tasmania, Bruny Island is deceptively large and you do need a vehicle to get round it.
This is a magical place that has been left largely untouched. It is great for camping, beach picnics and wildlife watching. You could make this a day trip, but there is so much that this island has to offer. There is good quality overnight accommodation and exploring the North and South of the Island could take days. Check out
In both 2015 and 2017, the Bruny Island House of Whisky won the THA and TasTAFE Award for Excellence for “The Best Specialty Bar in Tasmania”. It is the only whisky bar in the world to hold such an extensive range of purely Tasmanian whiskies. And there is knowledgeable staff to guide you through the experience, either by the flight or by a tailor-made selection, in front of a roaring fire in winter with stunning water views.
360 Lennon Rd
North Bruny Island TAS 7150
Phone: +61 3 6260 6344
Joadja Historic Town and Distillery, Southern Highlands, New South Wales, Australia
About an hour and a half’s drive from Sydney into the glorious Southern Highlands but hidden away from the usual tourist tracks is a most extraordinary relic of Australia’s industrial history into which has been inserted a delightful malt whisky distillery of craft proportions. Whether you are a history buff or a whisky lover, this is a must go to destination, and if you are both, it is a day in heaven.
Joadja was the company town of the Australian Kerosene Oil and Mineral Company. Thousands of shale oil miners were attracted there from Scotland to help develop and work the kerosene shale of Joadja Creek. This was in the 1870’s when the Temperance Movement in Scotland was in full swing under the influence of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Temperance Society, and it would seem that that particular aspect of Presbyterian life went with them to this remote part of Australia. On the other hand, some of them may have been intent on escaping the scourge of the Band of Hope and brought with them – as they did in large numbers to New Zealand – certain illicit distilling skills! And so it seems that, as in Scotland, the wrath of God and the balm of moonshine cohabited quite sublimely in those distant Highlands.
It is against this fascinating historical background that Valero Jimenez and his wife Elisa, both of whom migrated from Spain as children with their respective parents, and subsequently became owners of the now deserted but well-preserved town of Joadja, have developed a pristine small-scale Highland malt distillery. And the product, if my sampling of their First Release is anything to go by, is a characterful tribute to Joadja’s Scottish heritage.
The Spanish connection, however, is more than incidental and this is where things really get exciting. Some of the finest malt whiskies in Scotland owe a great deal to the skills of the Spanish sherry makers. The UK has always been an important market for Sherry – and in the old days a lot of cheap versions came from Australia. However, when the barrels came from Jerez, the true home of Sherry, the wily Scottish distillers would buy up the used barrels. And, of course, UK regulations require that whisky is matured for at least three years in oak. And so the Scots would fill them with maturing spirit, which would eventually become whisky. Whether by accident of by intent the longer the whisky remained in the used Sherry barrels, the more the Sherry influenced the maturing spirit invariably with beneficial results.
The Jimenez have been laudably enterprising by using family connections in Spain (Elisa was born in Jerez) to access ex-Oloroso and ex-Pedro Ximenez butts of the kind traditionally used by the Scottish distillers in which to mature their Australian whisky. And the result is bliss in a bottle!
Whisky takes time to mature and the Joadja still is of modest proportions and so the Jimenez enterprise has introduced Joadja Wee Heavy Scottish Ale to provide sustenance to visitors between releases of their whisky. There are other products of the Joadja still too, but it is the whisky, which makes this place stand out.
A Joadja visit – a full day’s excursion from Sydney and a delightful escape from the endless coffee bars and expensive shops in Bowral – is a truly memorable experience. Nothing flash, just a genuine harking back to a unique piece of Australian industrial history, combined with first hand exposure to a well thought out small scale distillery producing a seriously good whisky. On top of that comes a simple café/restaurant serving wholesome Spanish influenced home-cooked food in sensible portions. My visit was in mid winter, memorable for the tractor driven visitor experience around the extensive Joadja encampment and the friendliness of the Jimenez hosts, only too pleased to show off the results of their efforts in the still house, where production first started in 2014.
This enterprise deserves to prosper but just check out the website for visiting times as tours happen only about once a month, although private tours by groups of 25 or more can be arranged, with or without catering. And always call in advance to book and confirm. I shall return.
1760 Joadja Road,
JOADJA, NSW, 2575
Phone: +61 4878 5129
Website: www.joadjadistillery.com.au and www.joadjatown.com.au
Joadja Heritage Tour and Distillery Visit, Southern Highlands, New South Wales, Australia
These fully guided tours run for approximately 90 minutes and are conducted on purpose-built people movers (trailers). The visit takes in over 10 ruins/sites with on-foot inspection of some of the major abandoned structures. The tour starts and ends alongside Joadja malt whisky distillery, which can be visited before or after the tour or independently of the tour. The facilities are open roughly one Sunday each month.
Tel: (02) 4878 5129